Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great Statesman and Diplomat

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A spellbinding biography of one of the most powerful and dignified men ever to come to DC—Senator Mike Mansfield.

Mike Mansfield's career as the longest serving majority leader is finally given its due in this extraordinary biography. In many respects, Mansfield's dignity and decorum represent the high-water mark of the US Senate: he was respected as a leader who helped build consensus on tough issues and was renowned for his ability to work across the aisle and build strong coalitions. Amazingly, he would have breakfast every morning with a member of the opposing party.

Mansfield was instrumental in pushing through some of the most influential legislation of the twentieth century. He was at the helm when the Senate passed landmark legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the creation of Medicare, and the nuclear test ban treaty. Mansfield played a crucial role in shaping America's foreign policy, corresponding with JFK about his opposition to the growing presence of the US in Southeast Asia. As ambassador to Japan, his conversations with Cambodia and China paved the way for Nixon's historic trip to China in 1972.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Oberdorfer is one of America’s keenest analysts of the international scene.”—James A. Baker III, former US Secretary of State

“Mike Mansfield, one of the great Americans of the twentieth century, had an epic life, from the copper mines of Butte to the center of power in Washington for four crucial decades. Don Oberdorfer has done justice to his subject, with a biography as solid and understated and praiseworthy as Mansfield himself.”—Washington Post

“There are parts of this fine new biography of Senator Mike Mansfield, as he pleads with Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson not to plunge America into war in Southeast Asia, that could break your heart. . . . This is a thorough biography of a public man who served longer as majority leader than any other.”—New York Times Book Review

“A luminous account of a public servant who was the epitome of integrity, a worthy tribute to its subject.”—Fred Greenstein, Director, Program in Leadership Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

“Don Oberdorfer's magisterial biography matches the stature of the man.”—Sen. Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader

“What an extraordinary statesman, what an extraordinary biographer, what a spell-binding story.”—Ezra Vogel, Henry Ford II Research Professor and founder of Asia Center, Harvard University

“[An] extraordinarily well-researched portrait of a man at the center of so many tumultuous events. . . . [a] deep and probing biography.”—George P. Schultz, former U.S. Secretary of State

The Washington Post
… in the capable hands of journalist Don Oberdorfer, the importance of Mansfield's life becomes clear … Oberdorfer offers the judgment that Mansfield was "one of the last of the Senate greats." That verdict stems from his clarity of vision on Vietnam but also from his manifest devotion to public service. If we don't see many biographies of senators anymore, Oberdorfer suggests, it may be because we no longer see many senators of the caliber of Mike Mansfield. — David Greenberg
The New York Times
There are parts of this fine new biography of Senator Mike Mansfield, as he pleads with Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson not to plunge America into war in Southeast Asia, that could break your heart...This is a thorough biography of a public man who served longer as majority leader than any other.—John Aloysius Farrell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588341662
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,032,545
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Oberdorfer is the author of The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History and was a National Book Award finalist for this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2003

    The Senate's Sam Rayburn

    This man was incredibly intelligent and it's a shame that he didn't run for President in say 1976 he is the only person I can think of who could have beaten Jimmy Carter. This book is sadly a little skimpy I want to know more as will anyone who reads this book in detail, I would suggest that the author include those Vietnam memorandom he wrote. However his silent power is far more effective over the long term than LBJ's ever would have been.

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